Just in from my friend, as I was posting the previous. She's safe. In Notting Hill Gate, nearer Westbourne Park end, holed up in the flat:
The night before last there was a lot of noise of shouting, cars roaring and breaking glass. As far as I can tell, the shop on corner of my street has smashed windows, a couple of other shops near the Gate too. One shop at the Gate on fire but put out quickly and the Ledbury pub round the corner was invaded by rioters trying to mug the customers. The owners chased them away with machetes! They (rioters) seemed to be around 14 or 15 years old.
I'm writing this from from the relative safety of a third floor flat in Hackney, east London. Over the last few days I've listened to nonstop sirens, watched armoured vehicles rumble past, helicopters hover overhead, as cops partitioned part of the neighbourhood. I have watched from the window as kids streamed down the alley toward or away from danger, watched on the news as riot police charged and bashed their way through crowds of angry, frightened teenagers armed with bricks.